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Miners Overcome Miscues in 22-17 Defeat of East Carolina

UTEP's #21 Joe Banyard
Birthday boy Joe Banyard led the Miners with 140 yards. (Photo by Steve Kaplowitz)

On a night where fans had to be thinking, ‘here we go again’ the Miners overcame blunders and injuries to down East Carolina and get back to .500 on the season.

Quarterback Nick Lamaison left the game in the first quarter with a groin injury.  Kicker Dakota Warren was a shell of himself.  Turns out he was also battling a bum groin.

For the second time this season, sophomore Carson Meger was tabbed by Mike Price to lead the Miners to victory.

For the second time this season Meger was up to the challenge.  He played well in UTEP’s September loss to South Florida, and he did enough to lead the Miners in their 22-17 victory.

Meger wasn’t spectacular, but he didn’t need to be.  By the second half the blustery conditions made the Sun Bowl look like the Meadowlands.  Meger was a very efficient 18/27 for 155 yards.  No touchdowns, no turnovers.

Once again the Miner run game had it going.  The three headed monster of Joe Banyard, Vernon Frazier, and Leilyon Myers combined for 212 yards.

Birthday boy Banyard’s 77 yard touchdown scamper with seven minutes left in the game was the clincher.

The 25,000 strong at the Sun Bowl collectively breathed a massive sigh of relief when Travaun Nixon picked off Pirate quarterback Dominique Davis with just over two minutes to go in the game.

Fittingly the birthday boy sealed the deal with a huge six yard run on third down to ensure the Pirates would get no more chances to break UTEP’s heart like they did the last time they were here in 2007.

The win accomplished a lot for the Miners.  For starters, Mike Price will be spared questions about winning in November for at least one week.  Secondly, the Miners are now one win away from being bowl eligible for the second straight season.  Thirdly, UTEP can now cross East Carolina off the list of teams they’ve never defeated.

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